Poodle Lit. 101

Poodles (and cousins) in language: English

1993: "Poodle ... n. E19. [G Pudel short for Pudelhund, f. LG pud(d)eln splash in water (the poodle being a water-dog).] 1a (An animal of) a breed of pet dog, of which there are numerous (esp. miniature) varieties, with tightly curling hair, usu. black or white and often ornamentally clipped. E19. b fig. A lackey, a servile follower. E20. 2 Orig., (a garment made of) a woolly napped fabric. Now (usu. more fully poodle cloth), a woven or knitted fabric with a curly pile resembling the coat of a poodle dog. E19. Comb., poodle cloth: see sense 2 above; poodle-cut a hairstyle in which the hair is cut short and curled all over; poodle-dog = sense 1a above; poodle-faker slang (a) a man who cultivates female society, esp. for professional advancement; a ladies' man; (b) a young newly commissioned officer; poodle-faking slang the conduct of a poodle-faker. poodledom n. (rare, joc.) the world of poodles...: L19. poodle... v. E19. [f. the n.] 1 v.t. Treat as a poodle; slip and shave the hair of. Also, overdress, dress up. E19. 2 v.i. Move or travel in a leisurely manner. colloq. M20. 2 Police Review What will happen to the chap who wants to quietly poodle along the road at 50 m.p.h.? poodler n. (colloq.) a small motor vehicle. M20." The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1993).

1989: "poodle...n. [a. Ger. pudel, short for pudelhund (so LG., Swed., Da. pudel, Du. poedel(-hond)) a poodle, f. LG. pud(d)eln to splash in water, the poodle being a water-dog. Cf. Ger. pudel a pool, PUDDLE; pudelnass dripping wet.]
1. a. One of a breed of pet dogs, of which there are numerous varieties, with long curling hair, usually black or white, which is often clipped and shaved in a fantastic manner.
1825 LYTTON Falkland i. xi, Mrs. Dalton..asked very tenderly after your poodle and yourself. 1858 WHEWELL Hist. Sci. Ideas II. 133 The Poodle and the Greyhound are well marked varieties of the species dog. 1866 G. MACDONALD Ann Q. Neighb. xxv, A fat asthmatic poodle lay at her feet upon the hearth-rug.
b. fig. A lackey or cat's-paw.
1907 LLOYD GEORGE in Hansard Commons 26 June 1429 The House of Lords consented. This is the defender of property! This is the leal and trusty mastiff which is to watch over our interests... A mastiff? It is the right hon. Gentleman's poodle. It fetches and carries for him. It barks for him. It bites anybody that he sets it on to. 1944 J. JONES Man David vii. 144 There were certain barriers to progress, the greatest being 'that Tory poodle', the House of Lords. 1954 R. JENKINS (title) Mr. Balfour's poodle. An account of the struggle between the House of Lords and the government of Mr. Asquith. 1967 Daily Tel. 10 Feb. 30/2 Labour MPs did not appear to find the speech objectionable. One comment was that Prince Phillip had shown himself to be 'nobody's poodle'. 1968 Guardian 9 Aug. 16/1 Mr. Curran..vigorously denied suggestions that he would be Lord Hill's 'poodle'. 1969 'G. BLACK' Cold Jungle viii. 114 Bill would have been more likely to have a heart attack living as her tame poodle down on the Riviera. 1974 LD ALDINGTON Advising BBC 13 The suspicious will say that such a close link between the advisors and the advised..ensures that at least the Chairman of GAC, if not all its members, become the poodle of the BBC. 1976 Times 12 Nov. 14/4 Mr Foot is happy to act as Mr Jones's poodle in introducing the Bill.
2. A woolly sort of cloth; a garment of this cloth. Obs.
1827 Sporting Mag. XX. 167 A good drab surtout--if not a poodle. 1859 SALA Gas-light & D. xxii. 254 A short green cloak, adorned with a collar of the woolly texture, generally denominated poodle.
3. attrib. and Comb., as poodle-barber, -clippers, -clipping, -coat, -dog, -head; poodle-fashion, -like adj.; poodle collar (in sense 2); poodle cloth, a woolly sort of cloth; also attrib.; cf. sense 2; poodle-cut, a hair-style in which the hair is cut short and curled all over.
1902 E. BANKS Newspaper Girl 169 Having purchased a pair of poodle clippers..I myself became his barber. 1957 M.B. PICKEN Fashion Diet. 261/2 Poodle cloth, a coating of knotted yarn or loopy bouclé. Woven in all fibers and also knitted. Originally was made only in wool. 1959 Observer 13 Dec. 14/6 For country-house wear a poodlecloth wool is in allied tones, such as violet and amethyst. 1977 New Society 30 June 665/3, I managed to purchase a square-cut, early sixties coat in a fabric we used to call poodle cloth. 1859 SALA Gas-light & D. x. 121 A short cloak, decorated with the almost obsolete poodle collar. [NB: Captain Stevens; or the Man in the Poodle Collar, by Charles Selby, #957, Dick's Standard Plays, first performed at the Strand Theatre, November 24, 1834; we sent a Xerox copy to the Oxford University Press, and received the following response from Mrs. J. L. Price, Senior Assistant Editor, Oxford English Dictionary: "24 September 1998....The quotation you sent for poodle collar...antedates our current earliest, and so I have passed it on to those editors responsible for revision of the Dictionary." We're delighted! For a description of this play, and an illustration of a coat with a poodle collar (1834) please see the last paragraph in this section.] 1952 Sun (Baltimore) 25 Mar. 3/2 (caption) In this recent picture, Mrs. Truman wears what is described as one variation of the 'poodle cut'. 1960 C. DALE Spring of Love i. i. 29 Gloria, with her cross little painted face and her yellow poodle cut. 1975 R.L. SIMON Wild Turkey (1976) x. 8 A well-dressed woman with a poodle cut. 1820 in Amer. Speech (1965) XL. 131 Called 'a Hog, a Poodle dog' all the sailors joking me. 1822 M. EDGEWORTH Let. 27 Jan. (1971) 336 A new poodle dog..milk white silken curls all over except the poor shorn half that is sacrificed to poodle-fashion. a 1839 PRAED Belle of Ball-Room x, Her poodle dog was quite adored. 1876 SMILES Sc. Natur. vii (ed. 4) 109 The Fox may be known by his bark, which resembles that of a poodle dog.
Hence (nonce-wds.) 'poodledom, 'poodleish a., 'poodleship.
1883 MRS. E. LYNN LINTON Girl of Period I. 263 Many a fine stalwart fellow..sinks into mere poodledom at home. 1888 H.W. PARKER Spirit of Beauty (1894) 118 His owner should have been able to tell fifty like anecdotes of his poodleship. 1890 B.L. GILDERSLEEVE Ess. & Stud. 260 His whole demeanour was poodleish in the extreme.
'poodle-faker. slang (chiefly Services'). [f. POODLE n. 1 + FAKER.]
A man who cultivates female society, esp. for the purpose of professional advancement; a ladies' man; a socialite; also, a young, newly commissioned officer. So 'poodle-faking vbl. n. @ ppl. a.
1902 T.C.D. 22 Nov., The 'poodle-faker' is just as much a social necessity as tea-cakes. 1914 'I. HAY' Knight on Wheels (ed. 2) iii. xxiii. 228 And now my lad, you are going to put on your best duds and come poodle-faking with me! 1915 'BARTIMEUS' Tall Ship iv. 75 Don't tell me the lad encountered a pink-faced English youth, who had just got his commission, one of the Percival or Cuthbert type, whom we refer to in the army as 'poodle-fakers'. 1918 'TAFFRAIL' Watch Below 57 The ladies' men or 'poodle-fakers', as we called them, had their tea-parties, dinner-parties, and dances more often than was good for them. 1925 F.C. BOWEN King's Navy 239 The tea party to which the other sex is invited from 'the beach' is a 'tea-fight' or 'bun-worry', while paying calls ashore is 'poodle-faking'. 1929 A.B.E. CATOR in Hoghunters' Ann. 52 Man is primaevally a killer; by the word man I mean a real man, not the long haired poodle faking, over dressed idiot, all too common at home in these post-war days. 1938 C.L. MORGAN Flashing Stream i.i. 59 Brissing, you're the poodle-faker in this mess. 1939 A. POWELL What's become of Waring? vii. 200 But what did you live on?.. A bit of journalism here and there, a good deal of poodle-faking. 1949 H. PAKINGTON Young W. Washbourne 38 John had said quite frankly that one didn't always want to be saddled with one's cousins, however charming, and William had retorted that he'd be damned if he'd go round poodle-faking all the time, and what was a flag-lieutenant for except to amuse the Admiral's guests. 1963 M. MALIM Pagoda Tree 93 Women are not admitted to the main club premises except once a year at the ball. Traditionally, married members are confined to the club between 7.30 and 8.30 pm while poodle-fakers dally with their wives in their victorias outside on the fan. 1963 N. MARSH Dead Water (1964) vi. 134, I left my regiment. Took on this damned poodlefaking instead. 1967 D.BUSK Craft of Diplomacy vii. 184 In Britain it is still widely assumed, perhaps largely because of ignorant or malevolent press comments, that the Service requires private means and anyhow is only poodlefaking. 1977 J. PORTER Who the Heck xi. 97 There's some blooming Parisian couturier coming to see her...To hear her talk you'd think a bunch of corn slicers and foreign poodle-fakers was more important than solving the crime of the century. 1978 M.M. KAYE Far Pavillions xi. 175 He could go and shoot in Kashmir..which would do him a lot more good than poodle-faking at tea-parties.
'poodle, v. [f. prec. n.]
1. trans. To make into or treat as a poodle; to clip and shave the hair of. Also, to overdress, to dress up. Hence 'poodled ppl. a., 'poodling vbl. n.
1828 Lancet 16 Feb 725/2 Simply twisting it up, without the present fashion of poodling the head. 1902 Blackw. Mag. July 45/2, I thought it as well to 'poodle' him [a dog] occasionally. 1905 Ibid. Dec. 816/1 The poodled Spitz, in Germany apparently a favorite animal, I avoid. 1962 N. STREATFEILD Apple Bough iii. 39 Why do they want to poodle the poor kid up?
2. intr. (Usu. with advbs.) To move or travel in a leisurely manner. colloq.
1938 F.D. SHARPE Sharpe of Flying Squad i. 10 The long, low cars poodle through the streets. Ibid. ii. 30 For the most part these sleek, unobtrusive-looking cars poodle about the Metropolis well under 30 m.p.h. 1960 M. CECIL Something in Common xii. 131 She tells the patrons which gangway and then they poodle off the opposite way. 1972 Police Rev. 8 Dec. 1598/1 What will happen to the chap who wants to quietly poodle along at 50 m.p.h. even when there is no fog? 1973 Radio Times 22 Mar. 36/2 (Advt.), A sports jacket should protect you from dawn till dusk on a Scottish moor. Not merely while you're poodling down to the local on Sunday morning. 1975 New Society 2 Oct. 26/3 One member of each two-man [bicycle racing] team doing the racing while the other poodles round high on the banking until it's his turn to take over the attack. 1976 J. O'CONNOR Eleventh Commandment i. 24, I went indoors, messed around, poodled about for quite a while.
Hence 'poodler slang, a small motor vehicle.
1951 Brit. road Services Mag. Dec. 94/2 Poodler, small vehicle. 1968 Drive Spring 113/1 A poodler [is] a small vehicle, a roller skate a small, light wagon, and Billy Bunter is a shunter.
Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1991); transferred to CD-ROM (1992).

1989: "pood. An effeminate youth or man: Aus. low; since ca. 1910. B.,1942.) Cf. poof.. poodle, n. (Rare in sing.) A sausage; low; early C.20 Lyons, 1914, 'We fair busted ourselves on poodles and mashed; (Manchon). -- 2. 'The main [radio-]set crackles to the news of a robbery alarm...south of the river [Thames]. "We'll have a poodle at that," said [the Met. Police emergency squad driver] putting on the siren. A poodle is going 70 miles an hour, dodging in and out of traffic on Pall Mall" (Hearst, 1985). Ex:-. poodle, v. To go, usu. as in 'so we poodled off down to the coast for the day' or 'I think I'll just poodle over to see Jane'; middle classes: since mid-C.20, if not a decade or two earlier.v Has var. pootle, poss. a blend of poodle + tootle (q.v.) Clark, 1980 (2). Cf synon. toddle, and see poodler, 2. (P.B.) -- 2. To ride easily: club cyclists'. (Fellowship, 1984.) But cf. poodler, 1. poodle-faker....R.S. suggests a poss. connection with dog-robbers, q.v. poodle-parade, the, The nightly parade of dog-owners exercising their dogs; coll.; since ca. 1920. poodler. A 'womanizer' or confirmed flirt among cyclists: cyclists': from ca. 1930. Ex poodle-faker. -- 2. A small vehicle: hauliers' s.: since ca. 1935...." Partridge's Concise Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Paul Beale, ed. (London: Routledge, 1989).

1933: "Poodle...sb. 1825. [a.G. pudel, short for pudelhund, f. LG. pud(d)eln to splash in water, the poodle being a water-dog.] One of a breed of pet dogs with long curly hair, usu. black or white, which is often clipped or shaved in a fantastic manner. Also attrib. Hence Poodle v. trans. to clip and shave the hair (of a dog)." Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1933). NB: First use of the word in English must predate 1642 because otherwise this would not have been comprehensible in Roundhead pamphlets (see Army dogs). Also, both editions of the shorter OED (1933 and 1993) fail to note that the verb pudeln (to splash) is archaic.

1890: "Poodle, subs. (common). --A dog: in sarcasm, without reference to breed." (J.S. Farmer & W.E. Henley, Historical Dictionary of Slang (Ware: Wordsworth, 1987; originally published in 1890 as Slang and its Analogues).

1834: Charles Selby, Captain Stevens; or the Man in the Poodle Collar, #957, Dick's Standard Plays, first performed at the Strand Theatre, November 24th, 1834, 12 pages. A short farce having to do with mixed identities because of a borrowed coat with a "Poodle collar," which is described in the specifications for costume as a "handsome frock coat, with gray fur collar and cuffs." Much is made of this Poodle collar in the play, for example, "'Ha, ha, ha! He's got master's coat with the poodle collar,'" and "'Confound the poodle collar! Now I know why the people laughed at me as I came along...'" and "'How are you off for a poodle collar! Ha, ha, ha!'" and "'...the poodle collar has dished me,'" and "'I won't be laughed at for a poodle collar!'" and "'Look at his poodle collar! Don't go near him, Betty!'" and "'Damn all coats with poodle collars!'" and "(Seeing poodle collar) 'Oh, the poodle collar! Now I see!'" In the title-page illustration, the offending coat is hung over the back of a straight chair, so that the arms fall forward. The fluffy fur collar and the fluffy fur cuffs are clearly visible.

1824: Haworth, R., Disguises; or, Two Stages from Gretna: in One Act, with Stage Directions. Coloured frontispiece in six compartments by Robert Cruikshank. (Cheapside [London]: G. Hebert, 1824). [Price One Shilling.] The engravings are of Miss Vincent, in her original character of Clara. Meggie McHum. Dowager Lady Poodle. Miss Poodle. Scamper Poodle. Counseller Brief. (Added to Poodles (and cousins) in language: English.)

1638: We've queried why/if "Poodle" (Pudel, etc.) entered mainstream English early in the 19th century (as is supposed), when Poodles and proto-Poodles were immemorially known there; these dogs were called "Water dogs" and also "Shocks". "Shock" is thus defined in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: (1933) as "1638. (Cf. Shough) "A dog having long shaggy hair, spec. a poodle--1800.... A thick mass of hair [1819]....Having rough thick hair. Of hair: Rough and thick, shaggy....Shock-dog. 1673." Please note:
"Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;
Or whether Heaven has doomed that Shock must fall.
Haste, then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favorite lock;
Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock."
--Alexander Pope, "Rape of the Lock", Canto II, lines 108-16.
For what is supposed to be the first use of Pudel in English (in a Roundhead cartoon) please see Army dogs.

Go back to Poodle Lit. 101